Containers forum: Front Yard Dilemma #1

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Name: Carol Roberts
Huntington Beach, CA (Zone 10b)
Sunset 24
Container Gardener Foliage Fan Annuals
Image
CarolHB
May 6, 2016 6:52 PM CST
Need to enlarge to get the whole photo.

First one is what I've been struggling with. I love the look of the cordylines and wanted to emphasize them in the front but ever since I set them out there its just looked like a waste area, no matter what I tried. Then I got the idea of moving them closer together.

Thumb of 2016-05-07/CarolHB/d80a64

Fortunately I received a copy of "pots in the garden - expert design and planting techniques" by Ray Rogers (Timber Press) and read the text. Make them further apart. How far apart? Maybe, this far: I think this is what I've been struggling with. The Golden Ratio. A memory that came up from my quilting days, so I did the math and I think I'm pretty close - measuring center to center, not edge to edge I give myself some wiggle room.
Thumb of 2016-05-07/CarolHB/7efba7

I think I'll have to paint this place.

I am completely open to comments, suggestions, better ideas and thoughts about this in general. I know the front needs color, but a very limited pallett, and contrast in shape and form. What do you think? Group hug please

And this one is the rest of the containers (visible) in the front and side front yards. The car on the left is the neighbor's. (Mobile home spacing)
Thumb of 2016-05-07/CarolHB/84e905

Can't complain too loud about how the ball bounces when I'm the one who dropped it.
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Cinta
May 7, 2016 4:11 PM CST
I am no expert but what kept throwing me off was my eye keep focusing on the pot and not the plants. I do not know what to tell you.

I am thinking they need something to pull them together. Can you get some plants to put in all the pots that spill down.

All the instructions of successful pots are a "Filler, Thriller, Spiller. If all the pots had the same spiller it would pull them all together. I plant petunias in all my pots as the spiller and some are very fragrant which would be a plus by your front door.

or.....

Buy a bunch of small pots and fill them with the petunias. It just looks sparse and not lush.

This is what I am thinking.
https://images.search.yahoo.com/images/view;_ylt=AwrB8po3Zi5...


[Last edited by Cinta - May 7, 2016 4:35 PM (+)]
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Name: Carol Roberts
Huntington Beach, CA (Zone 10b)
Sunset 24
Container Gardener Foliage Fan Annuals
Image
CarolHB
May 7, 2016 4:30 PM CST
You're right Cinta - I've got more stuff coming. Those big clay pots are so heavy I ordered ups-a-daisys for them so I won't be actually planting anything in them other than annuals. Its going to take time to get a "finished" look out there and lots of experimentation, but I love the image you sent. Definitely going to print that out as a guide for "lushiness." Thank You!
Can't complain too loud about how the ball bounces when I'm the one who dropped it.
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Cinta
May 7, 2016 11:48 PM CST
I love your tall planter you have in the back. That is your show piece.

I would raise it, place it up on something to make it higher, place it in the middle and surround your other plants around it and it would be your focal point. If you place your other plants close it will hide what you use to raise that pot.
Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Garden Photography Container Gardener Butterflies Bromeliad
Birds Ponds Region: South Carolina Tropicals
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ardesia
May 8, 2016 4:32 AM CST
I agree , that is a stunning container. I love cordylines also but they are very structural plants that lend themselves to being focal points and having them separated makes you look in to many different directions at the same time. I think massing them around the tall container would soften the look as would adding additional plant material that was not so structural. Perhaps some succulents draping over the sides of some of the pots?
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Carol Roberts
Huntington Beach, CA (Zone 10b)
Sunset 24
Container Gardener Foliage Fan Annuals
Image
CarolHB
May 8, 2016 7:22 AM CST
I started rearranging this morning. Making it softer. Still have to wait for a lot of the fill-in - some ordered, some growing in seedpots, and already out of money for it this month. This is a north facing wall, so by mid-October it will have to be broken down and almost everything moved to the one place in the back that gets year-round full sun. So I figure I'll get this worked out by about the autumnal equinox and then have two weeks to enjoy. Hilarious!
Can't complain too loud about how the ball bounces when I'm the one who dropped it.
Name: Carol Roberts
Huntington Beach, CA (Zone 10b)
Sunset 24
Container Gardener Foliage Fan Annuals
Image
CarolHB
May 9, 2016 10:46 AM CST
I've rearranged and set the urn up on two more pavers. That's as high as I can lift it by myself. Also have to consider the winds, Santa Anas and balmy ocean breezes coming in a gale force from two directions. But that was definitely the right thing to do. Thank You!

I tried those containers close together at first and from the middle of the street it looked like a big black blob surrounded by a bunch of white rocks. Hence the separating. The total rectangle is 6x10', so I'm going to work with it for awhile, as I can afford to fill in some more.

Thank you for the advice and counsel and sounding board. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!
Can't complain too loud about how the ball bounces when I'm the one who dropped it.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener Xeriscape
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tarev
May 9, 2016 10:55 AM CST
Hi CarolHB, I know you mentioned in another thread you are not partial to succulents, but your area seems spot on for more succulents in containers or other drought tolerant plants with more showy fronds. What sun orientation is that...north or south?
Name: Carol Roberts
Huntington Beach, CA (Zone 10b)
Sunset 24
Container Gardener Foliage Fan Annuals
Image
CarolHB
May 9, 2016 11:28 AM CST
Its north, of course. So I'll have full sun by next month, then after 9/21 it will slowly go away until its in full shade for late fall and winter into the first part of April. The side front gets much better year-round sun and there's a wedge in the back yard that gets the same and that's where all the overwintering evergreens will go because the clematis that's there now is a perrenial and can be moved out of the way.

I do have custody of one succulent. Its an aloe that my neighbor planted in the ground and since its my ground (long story) I told her when they move she can leave it right there until she's ready and I'll protect it, but not with my life. I also have a sago palm - you want it? And, I'm going to start looking at the purslane you've hooked me on. So now I have succulent credentials. And I still can't get even a little bit turned on by them, but I appreciate what others, such as yourself, can do with them. Smiling
Can't complain too loud about how the ball bounces when I'm the one who dropped it.
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
May 9, 2016 11:42 AM CST
I think it looks like too much pot, because the plants are not grown out enough to fill the pots up as focal points.
You can also try a gazing ball, large decorative rocks, drift wood, a small fountain, bird bath, ect, to help fill it out and add interest. You can also lay a pot on it's side, or even use a larger planter, like a water tank.
A small piece of decorative fencing or trellis behind a large planter would also look nice.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener Xeriscape
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tarev
May 9, 2016 12:06 PM CST
Sometimes it is just a matter of adding more variety of plants, so it does not seem too monotonous. Getting plants with different leaf shapes and variegations may work, something to break the monotony of just long blade-like leaves. Upright growing ones that branch out will help the eyes look up so it does not fixate too much on the big containers.
Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Garden Photography Container Gardener Butterflies Bromeliad
Birds Ponds Region: South Carolina Tropicals
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ardesia
May 9, 2016 12:09 PM CST
The succulents I was the thinking of were some drapey sedums in a light green color that would hang over the sides of the pots. I know ice plants are overused in CA but they would inexpensively soften the look.
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Carol Roberts
Huntington Beach, CA (Zone 10b)
Sunset 24
Container Gardener Foliage Fan Annuals
Image
CarolHB
May 9, 2016 12:46 PM CST
Right to everybody. If only funds were unlimited. I had to stop buying garden already this month so I could refill prescriptions and take the dog to the vet. But I am taking notes. Click to get the whole pic, please.

Thumb of 2016-05-09/CarolHB/38b1f1

I'm playing around with what I've got. Received the ups-a-daisys today, so can finally get the three big pots settled in. I'll fill in those pots with annuals because the big plants have to be moved in Oct. (sun issues). I also want to raise the big side pots by a couple of pavers. And I'm thinking I'll have to break down and put in something green, variegated, rounded form and totally different texture from the blades of the cordylines. This is so fun. Just thinking it through and having people who give a hoot to talk to about it. Thank You!

Can't complain too loud about how the ball bounces when I'm the one who dropped it.
Name: Connie
Edmonton, Alberta area (Canada (Zone 3a)
Image
conniepr27
May 9, 2016 4:53 PM CST
Your last configuration gave me an idea. I like the way the three on the right look together. How about arranging them in two groups of three and one group of five? I think that would break it up, but still fill the space and give it an appealing look.
Name: Carol Roberts
Huntington Beach, CA (Zone 10b)
Sunset 24
Container Gardener Foliage Fan Annuals
Image
CarolHB
May 9, 2016 5:56 PM CST
Yeah, Connie - that's what I've been circling around, but you managed to articulate the idea. The little renegade in the front will have companion plants in the pot, including a cup and saucer vine if the thing ever gets to growing up a little. Once the fountain grasses on either side of the urn get taller they may have to be moved a bit out, or not - depends on how it all looks together. I'm thinking about just cutting some rooted chunks off the licorice plant and spreading them around a bit. And there's always the petunia. Hilarious!
Can't complain too loud about how the ball bounces when I'm the one who dropped it.
Georgia (Zone 8b)
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Elizbeth
May 22, 2016 8:54 PM CST
Just my 2 cents worth. I think it might have a bigger and more interesting impact if you had multiple pots of the same plants together...like planting enmass when planting beds where you have 3, 5, 7, etc. of the same plant. Another thing is that most of your plants have very dark foliage and are in dark pots, so the foliage sorta blends in with the pots rather than it showing off against the pots. Additionally, I think if you had grouping of 3 or more pots and then plant in the ground something low growing between the pots, but not all the same type of plant...vary it for interest.
Name: Carol Roberts
Huntington Beach, CA (Zone 10b)
Sunset 24
Container Gardener Foliage Fan Annuals
Image
CarolHB
May 23, 2016 10:11 PM CST
I agree Definitely a work in progress. I've got some 'Colchester White' dusty miller in there now, and am looking for other light brights. I've been wanting to get some artemesia 'Sea Foam' as the ground cover - its also a silvery deal. In the meantime I'm planning to use annuals since this whole arrangement will have to be broken down and moved in early October due to total lack of sun (north-facing). Can't wait to get the "round-to-it" on repainting some of those containers -I just don't like the way it looks. Oh, to have unlimited funds and be 40 years old again... Sighing! Thanks for the thoughts.
Can't complain too loud about how the ball bounces when I'm the one who dropped it.
Name: Jeff
Hudson, Fla (Zone 9a)
Region: United States of America
Image
Moe
Jun 2, 2016 2:22 PM CST
Hi !! Yes I'm a guy lol...I love staging plants ....I totally agree with Cinta...If you could get something that flows over a couple pots that can be planted with your existing plants it will make it pop....My two cents !!
Name: Carol Roberts
Huntington Beach, CA (Zone 10b)
Sunset 24
Container Gardener Foliage Fan Annuals
Image
CarolHB
Jun 2, 2016 6:51 PM CST
That's what I was aiming for, just have to find the stuff, but repainting those three big clay pots is absolutely Job #l. The cordylines are cached, so I can just lift them out of the way and get 'er done. Then think about the next thing. Thanks for the response Jeff. Oh, I discovered I have some nice blue pots that look good out there, so they may be pressed into service, at least until I change my mind again. Thank You!
Can't complain too loud about how the ball bounces when I'm the one who dropped it.
Name: Carol Roberts
Huntington Beach, CA (Zone 10b)
Sunset 24
Container Gardener Foliage Fan Annuals
Image
CarolHB
Aug 1, 2016 3:49 PM CST
Wanted to let you know I think the dilemma is solved - with lots of annuals. I still haven't painted those pots again, but there's always winter.

Thumb of 2016-08-01/CarolHB/8a53b7

Can't complain too loud about how the ball bounces when I'm the one who dropped it.

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